For those who know me well, you know that eating healthy and staying active is extremely important to me. I have been a runner since I was 16 and in love with anything related to health and nutrition since college. Over the past 20 years, my dad has had three heart attacks and open-heart surgeries, which has made me even more conscious of keeping my family fit and heart-healthy.
As you know, I’ve been working with CanolaInfo on its World Heart Day campaign and have learned a lot! For example, cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease, stroke and diseases of the blood vessels, is the number one cause of death worldwide, accounting for more than 17 million lost lives every year. In the U.S. alone, more than 81 million people (37 percent of the population) have CVD, resulting in nearly 850,000 deaths a year. Research has also shown that obese children are at a high risk for being obese as adults, which is a risk factor for CVD. There is good news though – with healthy diet and exercise, CVD can be prevented up to 80 percent of the time!
I’ve tried to teach my three children (10, 12 and 14) the importance of a healthy lifestyle through examples I’ve set and it seems to be working! As a family, we like to ride bikes, take walks, play tennis – anything active that we can do together. I also urge them to join team sports every season and we discuss the importance of making healthy food choices. I include them in meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. I am always proud, impressed and grateful when I see them making wise decisions with healthy snacks and other foods. But kids are also, well kids, so I try to make heart-healthy foods fun like these No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars I developed for CanolaInfo’s “Home is Where the Heart is” Recipe Collection.
These easy and tasty granola bars are perfect for breakfast, a lunchbox dessert or afternoon snack. For more great kid-friendly recipes and information on living a heart-smart lifestyle, visit Canolainfo.org.
No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars
2 cups low-fat granola cereal 500 mL
1 1/4 cups crispy brown rice cereal 300 mL
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats 250 mL
2 tablespoons chopped almonds 45 mL
1/4 cup dried cranberries or dried blueberries 60 mL
1/2 cup honey 125 mL
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter 125 mL
1 tablespoon canola oil 15 mL
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 5 mL
1. In large bowl, combine granola, rice cereal, oats, almonds and dried berries; set aside.
2. In small saucepan, bring honey, peanut butter, canola oil and vanilla over low heat and heat 5 minutes or until blended.
3. Pour peanut butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until coated. Press mixture into lightly greased 9 x 13-inch (22 x 33-cm) pan. Press mixture down tightly with wax paper. Cover and cool completely in pan in refrigerator at least 1 hour before slicing into 16 bars.